CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he’s “leaving all his options open” for 2016. That is when voters will elect West Virginia’s next governor and, Manchin has said this week, he’s not ruling out a return to the Mountain State for another run.
It’s a move that Chris Stirewalt, digital politics editor for Fox News, said may make sense for the Democrat. “He likes to have things happen. He wants to be the guy who puts the deal together,” Stirewalt said of Manchin on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“For a guy who is as rambunctious as Manchin, being governor of a state gives you the opportunity to make things happen.” Stirewalt said, by comparison, the U.S. Senate moves much more deliberately.
Manchin was first elected West Virginia’s 34th governor in 2004. He served a full term and part of a second term before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 to fill the seat U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) had held for more than 50 years up until his death. Manchin was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 2012.
Kent Carper, Kanawha County Commission president, said he thinks a Manchin return to Charleston would be good for West Virginia.
“I think he was an excellent governor and, frankly, this state needs leadership at the State House after Gov. (Earl Ray) Tomblin leaves,” he said. “I just think he’ll (Manchin) come back and do it for the state.”
Manchin’s current U.S. Senate term runs through 2018.
West Virginia’s next governor will be elected in 2016. Gov. Tomblin cannot run again because he has already served parts of two consecutive terms, the limit in West Virginia without a four year waiting period.